Wild and Wondrous Encounters in Salzburg

Wild and Wondrous Encounters in Salzburg
Some good signs guiding us through southern Germany to Salzburg.

What do tree felling, elephant roaring and vegan pizza have in common? Not much. Only that we experienced them all in a whirlwind cycle tour of Salzburg.

The ride into Salzburg was a gem. We crossed a river from southern Germany and hopped onto the Tauernradweg, a cycleway following the Salzach river all the way into town. This section was incredible.

Train passing us in the dark heading toward Salzburg.

We decided to stealth camp a few miles ahead of Salzburg and it grew dark before we found a spot. This was quite a challenge to find, but we ended up on a tiny patch next to a fence with a big warning sign. Something like “Warning! Do not cross the fence! Wild boar in the area.”

Happy to be on the “right” side of the fence, and not really fearing the wild boar, we tucked in for a quiet night.

Until a giant roar woke us bright and early.

Not the boar, nor the elephant, but something far more ominous.

A chainsaw.

“Reeaaaaaaaaarrrrrrr - reaaaaaarrr - raaarr!”

We popped out and saw the imagined forest take the form of an active logging site on the other side of the fence. A teetering tree dropped before our eyes even as we rubbed sleep from them. Wake up and run for it! the tree seemed to shout as it fell with an air of grace.

The workers pretended not to notice us as we fumbled about, packing the bikes and moving on. All the while we cringed with each tree crash and wondered about the wild boar.

As we consume more and more, their habitat becomes less and less.

Teardrops began to fall from swollen clouds.

Some thirty minutes later we found ourselves on the outskirts of rainy Salzburg and here our next adventure began.

We were expecting two deliveries of important bike supplies, which a Warm Showers host happily agreed to receive for us some days before. He wasn’t able to host us at the time, but his help was massive. Meanwhile we decided to arrange a B&B for a much-needed shower and proper night of rest.

What happened next requires a lot of explaining, so let’s just say the two packages got lost in the city for awhile. Or rather, we got lost looking for them. They were delivered to two different pick-up locations and we ended up on a scavenger hunt for two days.

One of the packages contained two small bolts. Notice the irony of searching for a tiny bolt in a city full of moving parts and mechanics. Yet this one was unique, a custom part only the manufacturer could send.

As silver linings go, the delay was a blessing in disguise giving us time to rest and enjoy a very good vegan pizza from Organic Pizza.

Happy Steven, looks just like the emoji behind him.

More importantly we met kind and thoughtful people. It may come as no surprise that we just happened to cycle by an anti-racism community event hosting vegan lunch for all participants and passers-by. The lentil dish went down a treat and when asked why they were serving vegan food, they said it was important to be inclusive of everyone.

The B&B we stayed at, Das Grüne Hotel zur Post, adopted many sustainability practices and served a delicious vegan breakfast too. We recommend staying here if you’re ever traveling through Salzburg!

Castles, mountains and sunshine!

As for our second night in Salzburg, that location remains secret. Let’s just say it was wild and not without surprises.

As the trip began, so it ended. With a roar.

This time, with an elephant roar. Or maybe a rhino.

Of all the sounds to hear in the foothills of the Austrian Alps, this was least expected. Sadly we found out a zoo existed not far from where we slept.

We hear you, roar of captive nature.

We also hear you, roar of nature destroyer.

Both have something profound to say.

Both ask us to listen.

Written by Karla Sanders @karlasandersart | Photos by Steven Tiller @steventiller